Current Flea and Tick Control options for dogs and cats.

When it comes to talking about flea and tick prevention, in South-East Queensland we tend to focus on products that have a high efficacy on Paralysis Tick control. Even if you have not had a tick problem on your property before, your dog or cat only needs to pick up one paralysis tick brought to your property by wildlife and in a matter of days your pet could be facing life threatening tick paralysis. Not all patients can be saved so prevention is far preferable to treatment in every case. It is not unusual for us to see tick cases present in every month of the year and it is a common misconception that “tick season” is only a Spring and Summer problem. We will often see an influx of paralysis tick patients from late Winter after a little bit of rain.


In the last few years, we have seen a number of new flea and tick treatments enter the market. The new flea and tick products are all of the isoxazoline class so work in a similar manner. Hands down they have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of tick paralysis patients we have seen in recent years, and I have no doubt they have saved many lives. The natural question is what is the best one to get? You really can’t go wrong, but there are some differences that may sway you from one to another.


If you just want a flea and tick control on its own, your options are Nexgard, Simparica, Credelio which all come as chews and Bravecto Chews or Spot-on. Nexgard, Simparica and Credelio are all intended to be used as a monthly treatment and are only registered for dogs. Bravecto Chews are the longest lasting, intended to be given every 3 months for fleas and paralysis ticks in dogs (although they actually have a labelled claim for paralysis ticks for 4 months!). Bravecto have spot-on preparations which are one of the few products that offers truly effective prevention for ticks in cats. The cat version lasts 3 months and the dog version 6 months!


All these medications rely on the flea or tick biting your dog or cat to work. The simple reason we recommend these still over products that may help repel fleas and ticks simply comes down to efficacy. Advantix or Seresto which both have claims to repel/kill fleas and paralysis ticks are still excellent products, however they are not as efficacious in killing ticks. The exceptionally rare efficacy breakdowns we see with the isoxazolines means we simply see fewer cases of life-threatening tick paralysis in patients treated with these products. Even though the ticks have to bite your dog or cat, the mode of action is so fast, a single tick is not normally able to inject enough paralysis tick toxin to be of clinical concern. It does mean however if you have a pet who has flea allergic dermatitis or going to a region where tick borne diseases such as Ehrlichiosis may be endemic, then a product that repels rather than kills fleas and ticks should be considered as well.


There are also some combination products available if you want a product that covers more than fleas and ticks.

Nexgard Spectra in additional to flea and tick protection offered by Nexgard, also protects against heartworm and most intestinal worms. Be mindful though that there is no ingredient in Nexgard Spectra which will kill Tapeworm, so this really should be combined with a tapewormer once every 3 months.

Simparica Trio protects against heartworm and most intestinal worms in addition to fleas and ticks. It is not registered to cover whipworm or tapeworm so another wormer would be advisable once every 3 months. Simparica products will typically be cheaper than Nexgard products.


Cats now have the option of Bravecto Plus Spot-on and Revolution Plus Spot-on which in addition to flea and tick prevention provides protection against heartworm, ear mites, roundworm and hookworm. Again, no combination product covers everything so 3 monthly tapeworm tablets are recommended here and be mindful that the tick protection for Bravecto Plus is shorter than Normal Bravecto Spot-on for cats only lasting 10 weeks instead of 3 months and Revolution Plus Spot-on for cats is applied Monthly.


Many new products which enter the market these days will get some form of bad publicity on social media, which I know deters some owners using these products. These posts often come from countries other than Australia where their paralysis ticks are far less deadly. All these products are regulated and licenced by an independent government body where reporting of adverse events is mandatory. If you have any concerns about the safety of these products and whether they are suitable for your pets, please speak with us.

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